Monday, May 19, 2008
My Boys and the Sergeant
In one of my earliest post I told you about a trip that I took my two sons on in December of 2005. It is hard to believe that so much time has past since that trip. One of the things that stands out in my memory, is our time at Arlington National Cemetery. I am so glad that I was able to take them to see so many things that so many will never get the chance to see. While walking the paths that lead to so much history and emotion, we heard the sound of Taps being played in the distance. My youngest asked what the tune was and I explained it to them the best I could. Some distance from the visitor center we could make out the horse drawn caisson carrying the coffin of a soldier. It was a bit surrealistic and for me somewhat emotional. The family and loved ones were out of my view but not out of my mind. I do not know the circumstances surrounding this person’s death, only the grief. We continued on to the areas I felt the boys needed to see and when we completed the tour we entered the visitation area. We were in the gift shop when I looked up and saw a young sergeant of the Army’s Old Guard burial detail. Tall and professional with a trace of mud clinging to his boots. As he past by I said, “Sergeant,” and he paused. “Yes sir,” he responded. I asked him if he would be kind enough to pose with my sons for a photo. He said he would be proud. He snapped to attention and my boys fell into place like little soldiers, they too standing at attention. The difference was the smile on my boy’s faces. The sergeant, who had just buried someone’s son or daughter, or maybe someone’s father or mother, looked straight ahead and professional. I wish I could have had the chance to visit with him but I did not want to take up anymore of his time. As we parted I shook his hand and told him that my boys and I were proud of his service. My sons shook his hand as well and the young sergeant turned to me and said, “thank you, we need your support now more than ever!” The military has my support, I served in the U.S. Air Force for four years and the Army National Guard in Washington State for two years. If my children serve, may they be as professional as the young Sgt. at Arlington, and may they never have to be laid to rest from the wounds of war.